Most homes built before 1975 use cast iron pipes for their sewage and water systems.  Cast iron pipes can corrode internally and externally over time and cause severe damage. Policyholders are increasingly forced to pay out of pocket for failing pipes that can cause serious property damage and pose health risks to occupants of the home because insurance companies have denied their claims.

The Dangers of Cast Iron Pipes

Properties built before 1975 are likely to contain cast iron plumbing that has deteriorated.  While cast-iron pipes can potentially last for 50 to 75 years, they can also deteriorate after 25 to 40 years.  Almost 25% of pipe failure is attributed to corrosion. Cast iron pipes become corroded after cracking or leaking.  The internal corrosion of pipes is caused by the accumulation of sulfide gas which creates sulfuric acid.  Water damage caused by corroding cast iron pipes can result in water back-ups, warped flooring, broken floor tiles, water-stained carpets, sewer gas odors, and pest infestations.  As pipes deteriorate, they can cause sewage seepage through various surfaces in your home. Cast iron pipes that have corroded may expose residents to dangerous and unsanitary conditions.

Insurance Companies Deny Claims for Cast Iron Pipe Water Damage

Repairing pipes and water damage can cost tens of thousands of dollars.  Insurance companies often deny claims for pipe failure claiming that water damage is excluded from the homeowner’s policy.  Insurance companies also implement a variety of mechanisms to deny claims, such as requiring a 72-hour notification window to file a claim or capping the amounts policyholders can receive. Even if the insurance company agrees to pay your claim, it may offer inadequate compensation.  For example, Citizens Property Insurance usually limits claims to $2500 to $5000 for emergencies other than hurricanes. At the same time, Citizens Property Insurance increased its rates by 3.2% statewide and added more restrictions to its coverage policy to counteract the rise in claims by property owners dealing with the effects of failing cast iron plumbing systems.

Insurance companies should cover the costs of both restoring the property from water damage and replacing the cast iron plumbing with modern plumbing systems. Insurance companies may insist that coverage is limited to simply repairing the failing pipe.  However, property owners are advised to completely overhaul old sanitary sewer systems with new materials.  Any property owner whose house was built before 1975 and (i) already filed a water damage claim that was rejected or inadequately compensated or (ii) sustained water damage but has not filed a claim may be eligible to file a lawsuit against their insurance company.  Insurance companies should be held accountable for replacing failing systems to ensure that policyholders are not at risk of future damage to their homes from water damage caused by corroding pipes.

If you have water and property damage caused by cast iron plumbing systems, contact Levy Konigsberg to see whether you may be entitled to financial compensation. For a free confidential consultation to discuss your case, please call (800) 315-3806 or submit an email inquiry above.